U.S. runner Isaiah Jewett falls in 800-meter semifinals, then embodies the Olympic spirit

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Olympics

TOKYO — Isaiah Jewett emulates anime superheroes.

He watches them, quotes them. He tries to live by their credo and example.

Jewett has said that lessons learned from Japanese animation cartoons fueled his drive and helped him become a first-time Olympian.

In the immediate aftermath of a devastating setback, Jewett demonstrated the embodiment of the superhero — and the Olympic spirit — on Sunday night at Olympic Stadium.

On a night when Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy won the men’s 100-meters race and Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela established a world record in the women’s triple jump, Jewett left a memorable impression.

It did not begin as the Olympic moment that Isaiah Champion Jewett dreamed of as a child when he was trying to keep up with his older sisters, Victorya and Olympia. Or when he was losing races and failing to make the roster of other sports teams.


But Jewett’s actions after a fall in the men’s 800-meter semifinals will endure.

Jewett, the NCAA 800-meters champion from USC, was in the third position and Nijel Amos of Botswana the fourth as the racers approached the final turn. A moment later, both fell hard on the track. Jewett helped Amos to his feet, shook his hand and then put his arm over his shoulder as they finished the race.

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“I was super frustrated, I was so mad because I felt like I had a chance,” Jewett said, “and I learned from like from all the superhero anime I watch, regardless of how mad you are, you have to be a hero at the end of the day.


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